Turkish exactions after Michael's fall—Transition from native to Greek Voivodes—Matthew Bassarab (Wallachia) and Basilius Lupus (Moldavia)—Their severe criminal codes—Serban II. (Cantacuzene)—His good deeds—Betrays the Turks before Vienna—Growing power of Russia—Treaty of Carlowitz—Brancovano (Wallachia) and Cantemir (Moldavia) negotiate with Peter the Great—First Russian invasion of the Principalities—Repelled by the Turks—Flight of Cantemir—(Note: Anecdote of Russian cupidity)—Arrest and execution of Brancovano and his family—His great treasures—The Phanariotes—Their origin and rise—Massacred in Wallachia—Second appearance—Extortions and expulsion—Panaiotaki, Dragoman of the Porte—The Mavrocordatos—Nicholas, first Phanariote Hospodar—Suppresses the boyards' retainers—Constantine modifies slavery—Mode of appointing hospodars—The Caimakam—Homage and servility of boyards—Conduct of Phanariote rulers at home—Court customs—Reputed effeminacy—Rapacity and exactions—Extortions of officials—Extravagance of princesses—Treatment of peasantry—Princes encourage brigandage—Usually deposed and executed—Corruption of clergy—Other baneful effects of Phanariote rule—(Note: Divorces in Roumania to-day)—Another view of Phanariote princes—Their good works—Ypsilanti, Gregory Ghika—Nicholas Mavrojeni and his cowardly boyards—Ennobles his horses—Russo-Turkish wars—Treaty of Belgrade—Russian successes and Austrian interference—Treaty of Kainardji—Russian protectorate—Cession of Bucovine to Austria—Treaty of Jassy—Amelioration of state of the Principalities, 1802—French and English consuls appointed—Russo-Turkish war and occupation—Treaty of Bucarest—Hetairia or Greek rising—Rebellion in the Principalities—Career and fate of the patriots Vladimiresco and Ypsilanti—End of Phanariote rule—Russian intervention and occupation—Treaty of Adrianople and restoration of native rulers—Patriotic efforts of Heliade and others—Rise of Roumanian learning and art—The year of revolutions, 1848—Partial success of the rising in Roumania—Suppression by Russia and Turkey—Escape of the patriots—Review of the benefits of Russian interference in the Principalities—Renewed Russian aggression—Brief history of the war of 1854-1856 between Russia and the Western Powers and Turkey—Treaty of Paris—Return of the patriots—Union of the Principalities under Prince Couza—Incidents of his reign—His deposition—How planned and effected—The provisional government—Evil influence of Couza's conduct.


he history of Moldo-Wallachia during the seventeenth century—that is to say, from the fall of Michael to the dispossession of the native voivodes at the beginning of the eighteenth century—possesses little interest for English readers. Some of the more important incidents will be referred to in connection with the subsequent régime of the Greek, or, as they are called, the Phanariote rulers appointed by the Porte, and it will only be necessary to make a few brief comments upon the condition of the country, and the character of two or three of the Voivodes who reigned during the century.

It may well be imagined that the humiliating defeats inflicted by Michael upon the Turkish armies would not tend to mollify the severity of their subsequent rule, and that the chief aim of the Porte would be to extort as large a revenue as possible from the conquered provinces, without regard to the sufferings of any class, This was effected by taking advantage of the jealousies and intrigues of the boyards who aspired to the rulership to obtain an increase of the tribute, and bribes; and a reference to the records of the time shows that whilst in Wallachia the rule of only three voivodes, and in Moldavia that of two only, exceeded five years, there were often two new princes appointed in the same year. A noteworthy circumstance in connection with these voivodes is their gradual transition from native to Greek families. Here and there we have an Italian appellative, such as Quatiani or Rosetti, but in the main there is a change from the Bassarabs, the Bogdans, and the Radus, to the Ghikas, Cantacuzenes, Brancovanos, and eventually to the Mavrocordatos. The explanation of this change will be given presently, but amongst the native rulers we may select two or three for brief comment. Between 1627 or 1633 and 1654 Matthew Baasarab ruled over Wallachia to the advantage of the nation. He drove out the Tartars who had overrun the country, and afterwards devoted himself to the welfare of his subjects. Bucarest was not yet the acknowledged capital, but he established a printing-press there, and also reformed the administration of justice. At the same time Basilius (known as Basil the Wolf), Prince of Moldavia, between whom and Matthew there had been great jealousy, followed his example in his own country, and a criminal code was introduced into both principalities, which, amongst its other provisions, legalised slavery in some of its most iniquitous forms. A few extracts from this code may be of interest, as showing the condition of the people at that time.

Anyone guilty of arson was burned alive.

Anyone harbouring a fugitive serf was liable to a fine of twelve silver lions into court and twenty-four to the seigneur.

If the gipsy of a boyard or his children stole some such trifle as a chicken or an egg twice or three times, he was to be pardoned, but if he stole anything more considerable he should be punished as a thief. If he committed a theft to ward off starvation, he was pardoned, and also if he stole from the enemy.

A treasure discovered by means of sorcery became the property of the prince.

Besides the very severe punishments directed against other forms of murder, poisoning, which must therefore have been frequent, has two clauses provided for it. One is that, in addition to the punishment of a murderer, his children shall be declared infamous.

If a man gave another a box on the ear, and was stabbed in return, no punishment was inflicted, even if death ensued; and the whole code of honour is of a like savage nature.

Doctors are to be believed in matters of hygiene before barbers or sorcerers.

Bigamy was punished by the culprit being whipped through the town, riding naked on a donkey.

If a person to whom the training of young girls was confided corrupted and betrayed them to licentious men, hot lead was to be poured down his (or her) throat until it reached his heart (sic), 'for it was from thence that the seductive counsels had proceeded.'

A slave or paid serf who committed rape was not put to death as were others, but he was burned alive.

Torture was evidently quite common, for judges are forbidden to torture innocent persons even by order of the prince.

Nobility clearly gave immunity to crime—at least it mitigated the punishment; for 'neither nobles nor boyards nor their sons could be condemned to the galleys nor to the mines, but they might be banished for a longer or shorter period; they might not be hung, nor impaled, nor dragged through the streets like ordinary malefactors, but they should be decapitated.'

A wise and good Prince of Wallachia was Serban II. (Cantacuzene), 1679-1688, who built and improved churches and monasteries, and erected factories and workshops for the people. He also encouraged education and literature, founded the first Roumanian seminary, translated the Bible into Roumanian, and, so far as it was possible in the unfortunate condition of the country, he diminished the taxes of the poor. He was compelled to join the Turks in their wars against Germany, but, summoning courage at a critical moment, he turned his arms against—or perhaps it would be more honest to say he betrayed—those of whom he was the unwilling ally. This happened during the siege of Vienna in 1683, where Serban was at the head of a contingent of four thousand Wallachians in the army of Cara Mustapha, and the duty was entrusted to him of constructing bridges and works. He took advantage of his position to communicate with the Germans, facilitated the destruction of the works which he himself had raised, and it is said that he loaded his guns with straw. He is said also to have erected a high cross opposite his tent, on which an inscription was graven capable of bearing a double interpretation, and which gave courage to the besieged. After the defeat of the Turks before Vienna through its relief by Sobieski, King of Poland, Serban fostered the idea of asserting his independence of Turkish rule; but before he was able to carry his plans into execution, he died (1688), it is said, poisoned by his brother and nephew.


But another great Power was drawing nearer and nearer to Roumania, which was eventually to exercise a grave influence upon her destiny. Already the Muscovites had taken part with the Christian Powers in their struggles with the Ottoman Empire, and in 1699 the Treaty of Karlowitz was concluded, which gave Transylvania to Austria and Azov to the Russian Empire. The position of the Principalities as vassal states of Turkey remained unaffected, but the indirect influence of the growing power of Russia soon became manifest. In the beginning of the eighteenth century there ruled two voivodes, Constantine Brancovano in Wallachia, and Demetrius Cantemir in Moldavia, both of whom had been appointed in the usual manner under the suzerainty of the Porte; but these princes, independently of each other, had entered into negotiations with Peter the Great after the defeat of Charles XII. at Pultawa (1709) to assist them against the Sultan, their suzerain, stipulating for their own independence under the protection of the Czar. Encouraged by these advances Peter approached the Pruth with his army; but the Moldavian boyards were generally opposed to the alliance, and Cantemir found himself supported only by three or four of his ministers. Notwithstanding this, the Russian army crossed the Pruth, and pitched their camp near Jassy. A general massacre of the Turks throughout Moldavia followed, but no advantage accrued to the Russian arms, as the Moldavian prince was unable to furnish the Czar with the promised supplies for his army. It is even said that one of the boyards, who enjoyed the confidence of Cantemir, appropriated certain funds which he had received for the supply of the army to his own use, and placed himself in communication with the Grand Vizier. The Porte, aided by its allies, raised a powerful army, which crossed the Danube; and although one of Peter's generals is said to have obtained some temporary advantage, the Czar soon found himself so hard pressed by the superior forces of the Ottomans that he was glad to conclude a treaty with the Porte and make the best of his way home, harassed on his return by fierce Tartar hordes.

At Stephanesti the Czar was met by Cantemir, who sought and obtained his protection, and returned with him into Russia, where it is said that his representations inflamed the desire of Peter to possess the Principalities, if not Constantinople, and led to those subsequent wars of which Roumania afterwards became the seat and the victim.

Brancovano, Prince of Wallachia, who had not taken any active part in the war, met with the fate which his neighbour had escaped. His secret correspondence and alliance with Peter the Great were betrayed to the Porte by a member of his own family, and after the conclusion of peace steps were taken to depose him. With this view the Kapidgi Mustapha was sent with a small escort to arrest and bring him to Constantinople with his whole family. The story of his deposition is narrated with great dramatic effect: how the Kapidgi with twelve janissaries entered the throne-room where Brancovano awaited him unconscious of his impending fate; and how the former, refusing to take a seat by his side, drew a long crape shawl from his breast and, throwing it over the shoulders of the prince, pronounced the terrible word 'deposed.' He then called the boyards together, read the decree of the Sultan, and threatened them with an invasion if they resisted. The cowardly boyards allowed their prince and his family to be carried off to Constantinople without an effort to save them. On his arrival at Constantinople, Brancovano was declared a traitor, and, having refused to embrace Islamism, he and four of his sons and his son-in-law were decapitated (a.d. 1714) in the Sultan's presence. Satiated with their blood, it is said that the Sultan Achmet III. spared the last member of his family, a young grandchild, and that this one, with the widow, were permitted to retire into Wallachia.

One of the temptations to put an end to the life as well as the reign of Constantine Brancovano was undoubtedly his great wealth. Along with his person his papers were seized, and his property was confiscated, an inventory having been made of the latter, in which the following are said to have been included:—A service of gold plate; the ancient crown of the voivodes, valued at 37,000l.; a gold belt and a rich collar set with jewels; the effigy of the hospodar in gold pieces of ten ducats; harnesses embroidered with gold and precious stones; a vast sum of money in coinages of different countries; and deposit-receipts for sums lodged in his name in Vienna, Venice, &c. Also landed property in various places, making an estimated total of three and a half millions sterling. The immense value of his treasures, and the sums of money which he possessed in various coinages and countries, led to the charge against him of having betrayed the interests of the Porte for bribes, received from Austria, Poland, and Venice, and, what was more unfortunate for him, to the suspicion that still larger treasures were secreted. Previous to his execution he and his eldest son are said to have been tortured for five days, to compel them to make discovery of further possessions, but without result. After the deposition of Brancovano, Stephen Cantacuzene, the son of one of his accusers, was made Voivode of Wallachia, but like his predecessors he only enjoyed the honour for a brief term, and two years afterwards he was deposed, ordered to Constantinople, imprisoned, and decapitated; and with him terminated the rule of the native princes, who were followed, both in Wallachia and Moldavia, by the so-called Phanariote governors or farmers-general of the Porte.


But who and what were the Phanariotes? the reader may enquire; and in order fully to answer the question we must revert to the beginning of the seventeenth century, and hastily review a series of events which, during that century, laid the foundation of their subsequent rule. About the commencement of the century many Greeks, coming chiefly from the islands of the Archipelago and from Asia Minor, sought refuge in Constantinople, where in the course of time they founded a colony in a parish or district known as the 'Phanar:' hence their name of Phanariotes. Being more learned, or at least better instructed, than the people amongst whom they resided, and moreover well acquainted with trade, they assumed similar functions to those performed by the Jews of the west of Europe, and like the latter they at once became the objects of cordial dislike, and indispensable factors in society. Not content with settling in Constantinople, they spread themselves into the Turkish pashaliks and dependencies, amongst others into the Danubian Principalities, where, too, owing to their extortionate practices, they became thoroughly detested; and it is said that Michael the Brave issued an edict excluding them from all public offices of trust. About the year 1617 they had so greatly increased in numbers, and excited such hatred, that the native population could no longer be restrained; a second edition of the Sicilian Vespers was enacted, and they were massacred, men, women, and children, a deed for which their successors took ample vengeance. For a time we hear nothing more about them, but about half a century afterwards (1665) they returned in great numbers in the suite of two Voivodes, who had purchased the thrones of the Principalities, and once more sought to establish themselves. Two of these seem to have played the part for the reigning prince that Empson and Dudley filled for our Henry VII., namely, that of extortioners, but with far greater tyranny and cruelty. They were at length cut in pieces by the populace, and the Greeks were once more expelled from the country. Meanwhile, however, they had grown in favour in Constantinople, where, through their learning and intelligence, they began to fill confidential offices under the Porte. To their ordinary avocations some added the practice of medicine, in which they were adepts; and one of them, Panaiotaki Nicosias, a medical attendant of the Grand Vizier, managed to ingratiate himself with his patron, and then, having exerted his influence in favour of his fellow-countrymen, he succeeded in obtaining minor offices for some, and toleration for all. He was appointed Dragoman or interpreter to the Porte, and, proving an able and faithful servant, he was permitted to nominate as his successor Alexander Mavrocordato, who is said by some to have been a common labourer and to have married a butcher's daughter, whilst others call him a silk-dealer of Constantinople or of Chio. Be that as it may, he made himself so useful to his employers, especially during the negotiation of the Treaty of Carlowitz, that after the execution of Brancovano he managed to secure the succession to the throne of Wallachia (1716) for his son Nicholas Mavrocordato, and became the ancestor of a long line of rulers in both principalities.


The selection of Greek princes, or, as they are often called, 'farmers-general,' by the Porte, was probably the result of the distrust which the native voivodes and boyards had engendered, as much as the respect entertained for its faithful dragomans; and if Nicholas Mavrocordato did not receive explicit instructions on the subject, he knew that the most welcome change he could make in the interests of his patrons would be to introduce an entirely new régime into his dominions. The most important step taken by him was to suppress the guards of the native boyards, which made them as dangerous to the ruler as the retainers of our barons had been to the Crown until they were suppressed by the Act of Henry VII. He established new tribunals and disbanded the militia. His successor, Constantine (about 1731), was superior in his views and aspirations to almost any of the princes who had ruled over Wallachia. He abolished the old form of slavery, but unfortunately political considerations still caused the retention of the peasantry in servitude; for, in order to weaken the native boyards, a large number of serfs, it is said 60,000 in all, were transferred as labourers from their old masters to the Crown, and to the newly created Greek boyards. Whilst their bodies were nominally freed, these poor creatures were required to render such an amount of feudal service to their new masters, that their wretched condition was rather aggravated than improved. The Greek or Phanariote boyards who were created, found it politic to intermarry with the native boyard families in order to improve their position in the land of their adoption, and the servile Wallachian nobles deemed it to their interest to encourage such alliances; indeed it was necessary to save themselves from extinction. New officers of State were appointed in the supposed interests of the Porte, but, as we shall see presently, the ruling prince, or, as the reader will find him called, voivode or hospodar, managed to turn these changes to account and make them serve for his own aggrandisement.

The new hospodar was always appointed by the Porte with great ceremony. 'The kukka or military crest,' says Wilkinson, 'is put on their heads by the Muzhur Aga; the robe of honour is put on them by the Vizir himself. They are honoured with standards and military music, and take the oath of allegiance in the presence of the Sultan, to whom they are introduced with the ceremonies usual at a public audience.' They were appointed by 'Beratt,' an imperial diploma, of which Wilkinson gives a formula, and wherein the Sultan commands the Wallachian and Moldavian peoples to acknowledge and obey the bearers of it, as the sole depositaries of the sovereign authority. As soon as the prince was appointed, he at once sent an avant-courrier, a Kaimakam, to make preparations for his arrival; and this one, who was practically the chief of the State for a period of two months, generally managed, whilst he was carrying out his mission, to do a little profitable business on his own account. The prince followed in great state, accompanied by a number of dependants and hangers-on who had succeeded, by means of presents or otherwise, in ingratiating themselves in his favour. The bribes, flatteries, and meanness of which these sycophants were guilty, either before the departure of the prince from Constantinople or after his arrival in Bucarest (which had been the capital of Wallachia since the close of the seventeenth century) or Jassy, have been described in vivid colours by modern historians, some of whom have drawn pretty freely upon their imagination for the purpose. It is a fact, however, that the boyards sent presents to the prince before his departure, and even lodged sums of money in Constantinople for the purpose—money which had been wrung from the unfortunate peasantry. The new hospodar, who had paid pretty dearly for his post, submitted to all this homage, accepted everything, and then acted as it seemed most politic, often punishing and exiling those who had stooped the lowest or bribed the highest. Arrived at the principality he generally made a complete change in the personnel of the court and government, giving the most lucrative offices to his own relatives, honorary appointments to some, and pecuniary ones to a few of his best supporters. To Mahommedans he took care to assign posts of little or no influence, so that it might not be in their power to expedite his downfall, which took place, at farthest, at the end of three years, and was usually effected by intrigues at Constantinople. His dispositions thus gave him almost absolute power, which he took care to use in such a manner as to enrich himself and his family during the brief term of his dearly-bought hospodarship.

After their arrival at the capital, the princes delivered an address to the assembled boyards, promising happiness and prosperity to the people; but as soon as the first ceremonies were concluded, the greater number gave themselves up to self-indulgence, exacted servile attentions from all about them, and practised every kind of unlawful extortion upon all those who were able to furnish supplies to the treasury.

'It was the custom that the prince never asked for anything at table. All is prepared for him; even his bread is cut into small pieces. He refuses food which does not please him. Wine is served to him in carafes of crystal. The cup-bearer (Paharnik), who is always a near relative, stands up before him holding a glass half filled.' When he has finished his dinner, coffee is handed to him, and when, subsequently, he withdraws to sleep, silence is enforced, not only in the palace, but throughout the city, so that his rest (which he does not, however, always take) shall not be disturbed. At a fixed hour, when he is supposed to have risen, the bells of the city are tolled, and all is again activity. All kinds of stories, more or less authentic, are narrated concerning the effeminacy of the Phanariote rulers, such as that they were lifted about by attendants, who supported them under the armpits, so that there might be no need for them to place their feet on the ground; but although such statements may be correct in regard to some of them, there were undoubtedly princes with whose character and actions such practices were quite inconsistent.


It may, however, be readily believed, that various devices were resorted to by the princes to enrich themselves as speedily as possible. Their regular income was augmented by the granting of monopolies, the depreciation of the currency, and frauds in collecting the revenue and in providing supplies for the Porte. A poll or capitation tax was levied upon the nomadic and stationary gipsies, and money was even exacted under all kinds of pretences from the heads of the religious orders. The annual income of the princes is said to have exceeded 40,000l. in addition to the tribute payable to the Porte. Nor must it be supposed that this was the whole amount that was extorted from the unfortunate inhabitants. It was 'like master like man,' and every official and underling followed the prince's example, each being aware that a change of rulers meant dismissal for himself. The princess, too, had special sources of income, which were usually squandered in rivalry with the boyardesses, in jewellery, dress, and other luxuries. It is said that one of the princesses, being offended with a lady of rank for excelling her in the ostentatious richness of her dress and personal adornments, caused her to be exiled; and that when she had secured a sufficiently large sum to purchase a more magnificent apparel than her rival, she allowed her to return to court, in order that she might enjoy her humiliation. The complaints of the oppressed peasantry were at best unheeded, and when these were driven to desperation and ventured to appeal in person to the prince, a number of them were seized and cast into prison, 'pour encourager les autres.' The result was that many turned brigands, and united to form bands; but even these, it is said, ministered to the rapacity of some of the Phanariote rulers. The prince secretly encouraged or winked at their misdeeds, until he thought they had amassed a considerable treasure by free-booting. Then, making a raid upon them with a strong military force, he deprived them of their plunder and decapitated or imprisoned them. The greater number were sent to work in the salt-mines, where (as already stated elsewhere) they usually died after the expiration of about four years.

This system of extortion and tyranny usually continued until the Porte could no longer refuse to listen to the call for redress, and in such cases intriguers for the succession were only too ready to take up the cry, and even to exaggerate the crimes of the reigning prince. The result was that one by one they were deposed, and often recalled to Constantinople, only to be disgraced, exiled, or executed. According to the historical records, there were eleven distinct hospodars in each principality between 1716 and 1768; in Wallachia the government was changed twenty-one, and in Moldavia seventeen times. In one year (1731) Constantine Mavrocordato ruled twice, and Michael Racoviça once; the former is noted as having reigned six times; the latter was re-elected in 1741, and was eventually exiled to Mitylene. Charles Ghika (1758) was exiled to Cyprus; Stephen Racoviça (1765) was strangled by order of the Porte; and so on.

But although the rulers were changed so frequently, the system not only continued, but became more and more demoralising to the whole nation. For a time the clergy were content to bleed without drawing blood in their turn, but at length they, too, began to extort money from rich and poor alike, in order to meet the demands upon them, and prostituted the sacred offices of religion to gain their ends. Another terrible result of the Phanariote rule was the seizure by the officials of the Porte of Roumanian men and women, the former to replace those who had fallen in the wars between the Turks and Russians; and the best blood of the country was sacrificed in a cause in which it had no interest. The moral degradation of the boyards also became deeper and deeper. Many turned renegades, and adopted the Mussulman faith, partly from servility, often to save themselves from being condemned to death. Others pursued that course that they might not be harassed by the Turkish officials, and others again because the oriental dress pleased them, and they desired to indulge in the practice of polygamy. Fathers educated their sons in every kind of deceit and hypocrisy to minister to their advancement in life, teaching them how to approach the dominant seigneurs and ingratiate themselves in their favour, whilst, in the eyes of the common people, the boyards had sunk so low that they had earned for themselves the name of 'sleeping dogs.' The women were even worse than the men. The height of their ambition was to form advantageous alliances without reference to their happiness in after life; the marriage tie was treated with the utmost indifference, and the clergy were often compelled, much against their will, to grant divorces in order to retain their offices and influence.

So much for the dark side of the Phanariote rule; and it is much to be regretted that all modern historians have contented themselves with looking at its unfavourable aspect, and have sought to shift all the sins and errors of the period upon the shoulders of the Greek princes. It is not our intention to follow their example, for we believe that the government of the Greek hospodars was by no means an unmixed evil. The modern descendants of those men still occupy honourable positions in Roumania, but these have little to say in their defence; indeed we have heard Greeks express the opinion that it would be more creditable to them if they were to lay bare the exaggerations of evil, and bring into prominence the better traits in the character of their ancestry. That they were not all tyrants and extortioners is certain, although many, especially the earlier ones, were only too faithful servants of the Porte who may have played their part con amore in remembrance of the massacre of their ancestors, and in conformity with the customs of the period. But amongst them were brave, religious, charitable, and learned men, who contributed to raise the Roumanians from a condition of barbarism to one of comparative civilisation. Of this we have evidence in the law reforms, imperfect as they were, introduced by Constantine Mavrocordato; in the buildings and charitable foundations of Ypsilanti and Gregory Ghika in both Principalities (between 1768-1778); in the courage of the latter, who paid with his life the penalty of serving his adopted country; and of Nicholas Mavrojeni (1786-1790), whose boyards were too cowardly to follow him in the defence of their country against a Russian invasion.

The last-named is rather a notorious incident in Roumanian history, and some writers have devoted pages to the narrative. It appears that Nicholas had received instructions from the Porte to raise a force and set himself in motion against the combined Russians and Austrians who menaced Wallachia. He thereupon assembled the boyards and called upon them to take up arms. Too cowardly, in the opinion of certain writers, or distrusting the prince, according to others, each excused himself on some flimsy pretext, whereupon Nicholas, indignant and furious, called upon one of his attendants to bring forth thirty horses, which were soon standing caparisoned in the court-yard. The prince invited his boyards to descend, and when they were arrived below, 'Now,' he cried, 'to horse!' They maintained a sullen silence, however, and no one moved. Casting a look of contempt upon them, he turned round to the horses, and, addressing one after the other, he cried, 'I make you Ban; you, Grand Vornic; you, Grand Logothet;' and so on, until he had exhausted all the offices of the State. Then, turning again to his cowardly boyards, he reminded them of the deeds of their ancestors, of Mircea, Vlad, and Michael, and denounced them as women, puppets, worse than eunuchs. Several he ordered into exile; while others, stung with shame by his taunts, mounted and followed him to victory.

This is the story of how Nicholas Mavrojeni is said to have ennobled his horses; but, if the reader wishes to hear how, after disputing every yard of ground with the invaders, he was rewarded by the Porte with an ignominious death, we must refer him to the pages of the historian.


Nothing can be more dreary and wearisome than to wade through an account of the wars between Russia and the Sublime Porte from the accession of the Phanariote rulers down to the Crimean campaign of 1853-6, and yet, for any but Roumanian readers, the history of the country contains little else of interest during that period. There are two aspects of these struggles, however, which devastated the unfortunate Principalities almost as much as the incursions of the barbarians, that are well worthy of our consideration. The first is the tenacity and perseverance with which the Czars, one after the other, sought to tighten their grasp upon the Principalities, with ultimate aims upon Constantinople; the second, the occasional efforts which were made by a few patriots, backed up not so much by the boyards as by the common people, to relieve the country from foreign domination, whether Mussulman, Russian, or Austrian—for the last-named nation also sought to gain a foothold in the land.

Let us briefly review the leading events of the period referred to, and consider their bearing upon Roumania of to-day. After the unsuccessful campaign of Peter the Great in which the voivodes, Cantemir and Brancovano, were enlisted on the side of the Russians, the latter made no serious attempt to interfere with the government of the Principalities until about the year 1735, when, under the Empress Anne, and in alliance with the German Emperor Charles VI., they endeavoured to expel the Turks, and partially succeeded in doing so. After two campaigns, however, the allies were ingloriously defeated at Belgrade; and by the treaty of that name (1739 a.d.) they were not only compelled to restore all their conquests, but even to relinquish some of the territory of which the Porte had been deprived in the seventeenth century. The hospodars who ruled at that time in Wallachia and Moldavia were Constantine Mavrocordato and Gregory Ghika.

About twenty-five years later the Russians returned to the charge under Catherine IV., and this time with better success. Their operations extended over about six years, and the war commenced in 1768 by an act of hostility on the part of the Sultan, provoked by a Russian propaganda. In 1769-70 the Muscovites overran Moldavia and Wallachia; the former, it is said by some, with the connivance of the reigning prince, Constantine Mavrocordato III.; and, having defeated the Turks in several pitched battles, and even penetrated into Bulgaria, they actually ruled in the country until 1774 a.d., and introduced many useful reforms. Then, however, owing to the interference of Maria Theresa, Empress of Germany, who, as Queen of Hungary, herself claimed rights of suzerainty over Wallachia, and largely also in consequence of the passive resistance of the Porte, the Czarina agreed to the Treaty of Kainardji, by which, under conditions favourable to the Principalities, they were once more restored to the Porte. Amongst the conditions were a complete amnesty; the restitution of lands and goods to their rightful owners; freedom of worship for Christians, and liberty to build or restore places of worship; the privilege of sending two chargés d'affaires (one from each principality) to Constantinople; and the right on the part of the Court of St. Petersburg to speak in favour of the Principalities in cases of complaint, with the further provision that such remonstrances should be treated with the respect due from one friendly power to another.

In 1777 the Porte ceded Bucovine to Austria. The signature of the ruling Hospodar of Moldavia, Gregory Ghika, was necessary to validate the cession, but that patriotic 'Phanariote' refused to append it, whereupon he was deposed and cruelly murdered by the creatures of the Porte. We have already referred to his patriotism and its results.

In 1781-2, by an arrangement with the Porte, Catherine II. secured the right to send consuls to Bucarest and Jassy, who were maintained and served in great state at the cost and provision of the Principalities, and were authorised to exercise a certain control over their public income and expenditure for the protection of the inhabitants. This new influence was secured by Russia through the complaints of the Roumanians in regard to the rapacity of the Turkish rulers; through her growing influence; and, last but not least, her threatening attitude on the Turkish frontiers. In 1788 an alliance was again formed between Russia and Austria, having for its object the dispossession of the Porte in the Principalities. This was the occasion on which Nicholas Mavrojeni is said to have ennobled his horses. He was afterwards defeated at Calafat, and after several reverses the Porte was glad to conclude treaties of peace, first with the Austrians and then (1792) with Russia at Jassy. By this treaty the Russians gained territory and secured the promise from the Porte of a more merciful government in Moldo-Wallachia, the condition of which at that time is represented to have been desperate, owing to the Phanariote exactions and the frequent change of hospodars.

Consequent upon the bitter complaints of the inhabitants the Russians again interfered in 1802, forcing the Porte to extend the duration of the rulership to seven years and to repress other abuses. About this time the first English Consul was appointed. Vaillant refers to him as 'Sir Francis,' and charges the English Government with having sent him to co-operate with Russia against Turkey. A French diplomatist also appeared at Bucarest, and, whatever part these representatives may have played in the matter, it is certain that in 1806 another Russo-Turkish war broke out. The Russians under General Michaelson overran the Principalities, held possession of the country until 1812, and then only restored it after the peace of Bucarest, by which the Russians gained the whole of Bessarabia (the river Pruth being fixed as the boundary), with the ports of Ismail, Khilia, and other places at the embouchure of the Danube.


Shortly after this time, the Hellenic regeneration, or the Hetärie as it was called, commenced in the south-east of Europe. This movement, which liberated Greece from the Ottoman yoke, brought much misery but ultimate gain to Roumania. In 1821 there reigned in Wallachia Alexander Soutzo III., and in Moldavia Michael Soutzo III., two Phanariotes who, true to their traditions, had pressed upon the people with their exactions until they were ripe for a revolt. This took place in Wallachia under Theodor (or, as he is sometimes called, Tudor) Vladimiresco, an ex-officer in the Russian army (indeed, Russia is said to have fomented the Greek revolt everywhere); whilst in Moldavia a Greek called Alexander Ypsilanti joined with the reigning hospodar to drive the Turks out of that principality. Vladimiresco soon succeeded in establishing himself in Bucarest, where he ruled supreme for a short time, and whence he sent representations to the Porte complaining of the conduct of the Phanariotes, requiring their recall and the reinstatement of the native hospodars, as well as a restitution of the rights of the people under the old 'capitulations.' The reply to this was the entrance into Wallachia of a considerable army under the Pasha of Silistria, whereupon Vladimiresco withdrew towards the mountains and stationed himself at Pitești. Ypsilanti, meanwhile, had also approached Bucarest with his forces, but was unable to come to an understanding with his companion in revolt. When he heard of the withdrawal of Vladimiresco and the march of the Turkish Pasha, he believed, or professed to believe, that the former was about to betray him, and the scene of Basta and Michael was acted over again. Ypsilanti sent one of his lieutenants with a strong escort who decoyed Vladimiresco out of his tent by vain promises, carried him off by force, and then murdered him with great barbarity.

After the assassination of his rival, Ypsilanti, who claimed to represent the movement for Greek regeneration, found himself face to face with a well-organised Turkish army, whilst his own, consisting of enthusiastic Greeks and volunteers from various countries, was inferior in numbers and comparatively undisciplined. Holding discretion to be the better part of valour, he retired before the enemy, who, however, brought him to bay and offered him battle at Dragosani on the river Oltu. Here enthusiasm and devotion to their cause inspired the 'sacred battalion,' as the Greeks called themselves, with unwonted courage, and at first the Turks were unable to resist their impetuous charge with the bayonet. Ypsilanti was, however, no general, and, failing to profit by the bravery of his troops, the advantage was lost; the Turks rallied, a rout ensued, and Ypsilanti fled, leaving his lieutenants to resist for a time and then to die gloriously in defence of their liberties. He escaped across the Carpathians into Austria, was seized by order of the Government, imprisoned in the fortress of Munkács, and some writers say he was afterwards executed.


Two important results for Roumania resulted from the Greek rising. The first was the termination of the Phanariote rule and the restoration of the native princes, Gregory Ghika being appointed Prince of Wallachia, and John Stourdza of Moldavia. The reason of this change was that the Greek hospodars had made common cause with the insurgents; and we cannot do better than close this eventful period in the history of the country than by summarising the Phanariote rule in the words of Consul Wilkinson, who says: 'From the period at which this system was introduced to the beginning of the present century, being a space of ninety years, Wallachia alone has passed through the hands of forty different princes independently of the time when it was occupied by the Russians from 1770 to 1774, by the Austrians and Russians from 1789 to 1792, and by the Russians again from 1806 to 1812.' 'Few of them died of natural death, and the Turkish scimetar was perhaps frequently employed with justice amongst them. In a political point of view, the short reigns of most of these princes offer nothing of importance or interest to deserve a place in history.' From this brief judgment of one who lived at the time of their extinction, our readers will see that we have not dealt uncharitably with the régime of the Phanariotes.

Another of the results of the Greek insurrection was the inevitable Russo-Turkish war. Then followed the occupation of the country by the Russians; what Carlyle might have called the hand-shaking of incompatible tyrannies; and eventually the Peace of Adrianople, to which city the Russian arms had penetrated (1829). The stipulations of that treaty may be summed up in a few words. A large indemnity to Russia, with continued occupation until it should be liquidated, and a Muscovite protectorate of the Principalities; the suzerainty and an annual tribute for the Porte, and complete autonomy with the appointment of life-long hospodars for the Principalities. By a subsequent ukase known as the 'Reglement Organique,' the Court of St. Petersburg further expressed its wishes in regard to the internal government of the Principalities; and this document having been confirmed by the Porte after great procrastination, the Russian forces were withdrawn from the Principalities in 1834, and two princes of the houses of Stourdza and Ghika were again appointed hospodars.


We have said that two phases in the history of this period are interesting to the historian—the gradual encroachments of Russia on the one hand, and on the other the patriotic efforts of the nationalists to secure independence. With the Greek rising of 1821-2, and the prospect of complete liberty, a new spirit was awakened, which took the form first of a national intellectual regeneration, and then of what proved to be an unsuccessful struggle for independence. With both these movements the name of John Heliad Radulesco (known in history as Heliade or Eliad) is inseparably connected as littérateur and patriot. His name first appears conspicuously about the year 1826, when, in conjunction with Constantine Golesco, a returned exile and friend of the unfortunate Vladimiresco, and with the concurrence and support of the reigning hospodar, Gregory Ghika, he endeavoured to revive the national language, which had been displaced by Greek in consequence of the long-continued Phanariote rule. He was himself a poet of no mean order, and by his national songs he stirred the hearts of the people. But poetry did not absorb his whole attention. An able man of science, for that day, he himself imparted instruction in geography, logic, and mathematics, in the colleges of which he promoted the establishment. Of these one was founded on the remains of an ancient convent at St. Sava, the other at Craiova, and concurrently with this effort, to promote collegiate education primary and normal schools were also established. But the march of enlightenment did not end here; national journals and a national theatre were included in the scheme of the patriots. The hospodars, too, performed their share of the general advancement. They founded hospitals, promoted agriculture, welcomed back those who had emigrated before the scourge of war, and sought by every means in their power to give security to the national industry.

But the unfortunate geographical position of the Principalities, which made them the battle-field of the two contending powers of the Orient, still militated against the complete liberation of Roumania, and her efforts at regeneration were watched with jealousy by both her powerful semi-barbarous neighbours. The period soon arrived, however, when, for a time at least, the intrigues of emperors, sultans, and courts were unavailing, and when crowns were at a decided discount—the great European convulsion of 1848. Then, when the French monarchy fell and the rulers of other European States fled from their dominions into a more or less abiding exile, the awakening of nationalities extended to Moldo-Wallachia, and caused a patriotic rising far more hopeful and for a time more successful than the revolt of 1821; and the Principalities would no doubt have been permanently freed from foreign domination had not disunion amongst the national leaders once more prevented such a desirable issue. In the year of revolution, Nicholas I. being the Czar, and Abdul Medjid (the 'Sick Man') Sultan, simultaneous risings took place in the Principalities. The one in Moldavia was headed by a number of leading boyards, who at first contented themselves with petitioning for the restoration of their liberties. They were seized by order of the hospodar, Michael Stourdza, and sent into confinement, but most of them escaped and returned to reorganise the revolt. In the same year, however, as we shall hear presently, the Russians invaded the principality, entered Jassy, and quelled the revolution.

In Wallachia the rising assumed more serious proportions. It was led by Heliad and the brothers Golesco, George Maghiero, a Greek by descent, Tell, Chapka, a priest, and by three young men, two of whom will hereafter be spoken of in connection with the Roumania, of to-day—Demetrius and John Bratiano and C. Rosetti. Although all these men were united in the desire to liberate their fatherland from the heavy burdens with which it was oppressed, they disagreed as to the best mode of proceeding. Long experience had taught them that between the two fires of St. Petersburg and Constantinople there was little hope of escape, and some leaned to the former, others to the latter power, whilst the younger men, the Bratianos and Rosetti, looked anxiously to Western Europe and its advanced civilisation for succour. The hospodar Bibesco soon yielded before the storm, and fled to Kronstadt in Transylvania. A provisional government was formed, dissolved, and formed again. Great assemblages of the people took place at Bucarest; proclamations were issued and oaths administered and taken; but the whole thing eventually resolved itself into a 'Princely Lieutenancy,' under the suzerainty of the Porte. This was at first recognised by the Turkish general, Suleiman Pasha, who along with Omar Pasha had entered Wallachia with Turkish armies; for it suited the policy of the Porte to look favourably upon a rising which was chiefly directed against Russian influence in the Principalities. But the Muscovite Cabinet was not easily outwitted. Nicholas witnessed the rising with equal satisfaction, for it justified a new intervention in the affairs of Moldo-Wallachia. He issued a proclamation, calling the revolution the work of a turbulent minority whose ideas of government were plagiarised from the socialistic and democratic propaganda of Europe. This proclamation was followed by a march of the Russians into the disturbed provinces as 'liberators.' The nationalist leaders were glad to escape to France, Omar Pasha having occupied and plundered Bucarest on the Russian approach, and a convention—that of Balta-Liman—was entered into between Russia and Turkey, which deprived the Principalities of all their electoral rights, substituted a divan, or council of ministers, and reserved to the two contracting powers the nomination of hospodars. Russia, however, managed to get the lion's share even in this negotiation, for, contrary to the understanding, she succeeded in appointing both hospodars, Stirbei in Wallachia, and Alexander Ghika in Moldavia, thus largely increasing her influence in both Principalities.


Much has been said here, and a great deal more in the works of those French writers who were unfriendly towards Russia, concerning her intrigues and encroachments in the Principalities, but it is only fair to admit that her interference invariably resulted in the ameliorating of their condition. This the French writers sometimes grudgingly admit, and the facts of history clearly prove. In nearly every instance Russian interference meant relief to the peasantry and enforced moderation in the rulers. In 1710, when Cantemir III. of Moldavia sought the aid of Peter the Great, it was 'to put an end to the spoliations of the Porte.' In 1769 Constantine Mavrocordato entered into secret relations with Catherine II., and after the Russian invasion the Porte was compelled by the Treaty of Kainardji to grant autonomy to the Principalities, and to diminish its exactions; in 1802, through Russian remonstrances, abuses were suppressed and the evil-doers punished. In 1812 the chicanery of the rulers and the exactions of the Porte had brought the people to the brink of starvation; the Russians interfered, and put a limit to the demands of the Porte; but after their departure, we are told, the current value of agricultural produce again fell so low that it was impossible for the cultivator to live, and this circumstance, along with the renewed exactions of the rulers and officials, once more brought ruin upon the peasantry. In 1820 Wilkinson, who, it must be remembered, was Consul at Bucarest, and who was far from being enamoured of Russia, says: 'During my residence in the Principalities several instances have occurred within my observation of very active exertion on the part of Russia to keep the accustomed system of extortion in restraint, and to relieve the inhabitants from oppression, and such exertion has certainly on many occasions prevented the condition of the inhabitants from becoming worse.'

But that the ultimate design of Russia was to secure and incorporate the Principalities as part of her general scheme of aggression, there can be no doubt in the mind of anyone who has followed her operations previous to the Crimean campaign. That and subsequent events may be said to belong to contemporary history; but we must briefly refer to such incidents of the war as affected the Danubian Principalities and laid the foundation of Roumanian freedom. The Emperor Nicholas had picked a wolf-and-lamb quarrel with the Porte, of which the ostensible ground was the protection of subjects professing the Greek Catholic faith in the 'holy places;' and little expecting, perhaps little caring, that he would arouse the jealousy of France and England, he had sent an ultimatum to the Porte, demanding the right of intervention in conformity with the Treaty of Kainardji, threatening the invasion and occupation of the Danubian Principalities in default of immediate acquiescence. Not having received the satisfaction he required, he ordered General Gortschakoff to cross the Pruth and to take possession of and hold the Principalities. This was done in the month of July 1853. In September the Turkish Commander-in-Chief on the Danube demanded an immediate evacuation of those territories, and, failing compliance, war was declared. For some time the Russians, fearing the enmity of Austria, which had massed troops on the Wallachian frontier, remained on the defensive, but in October Omar Pasha assumed the aggressive, sending a small force across the Danube at Vidin, and it was thought that the straggle between the contending forces would take place in 'Lesser Wallachia.' Omar Pasha, however, either intended this as a feint, or changed his plan, for he soon afterwards occupied strong positions on the Danube at Turtukai and Oltenitza, between Silistria and Rustchuk, and was there attacked by a Russian force, which he succeeded in repulsing. No results followed this encounter; the Russians retreated towards Bucarest, and the Turks fell back across the Danube into Bulgaria.

In February 1854 the French and English Governments sent an ultimatum to Russia, requiring her to evacuate the Principalities, and in March they declared war against her. In June Austria followed suit, so far as demanding the evacuation of Moldo-Wallachia, and received permission from the Porte to drive the Russians out of the Principalities, and occupy them with her troops. She, however, contented herself during the continuance of the war with accumulating forces on her frontiers, and no doubt it was this threatening attitude which at length compelled Russia to evacuate them. Meanwhile active hostilities were proceeding between Omar Pasha and Gortschakoff. In the early part of 1854, the Russians having met with a reverse at Cetate, near Calafat, the Russian army was ordered to invade Turkey, and, having succeeded in crossing into the Dobrudscha at Galatz, Braila, and Ismail, it was deemed necessary to capture Silistria as a strategic post, in order to ensure the safety of the advancing army. In May 1854 the Russians attacked that fortress unsuccessfully, and after they had attempted to storm it four times, the Turks (in June) assumed the offensive, and made a sally, during which one of the Russian generals was slain. In the same month Nicholas, finding himself threatened by the Western allies in the Black Sea, and fearing to make an open enemy of Austria, whose forces were constantly increasing on her frontier, gave orders for raising the siege of Silistria, and subsequently for the entire withdrawal of his troops from the Principalities. This was not, however, effected until July, nor before the Russians had sustained another defeat from the Turks at Giurgevo.

Then it was that the army was completely withdrawn, the Turkish vanguard entered Bucarest, and, says one of the historians of the war, 'the Wallachian nobles celebrated a Te Deum in the metropolitan church to commemorate the restoration of Turkish supremacy—the same boyards who, in 1829, kissed the hands of the Russians who had freed them from the Turkish yoke.'

As for the hospodars. Stirbei of Wallachia, and Alexander Ghika of Moldavia, they had retired for safety to Vienna shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, and remained there until September, when the Austrians occupied the country with the approval of the Porte. They then returned for a short period, but Stirbei again abdicated permanently a month afterwards. The Roumanians wore compelled by the Russians to serve in their armies as long as they occupied the country, but a Turkish amnesty relieved them from the consequences of this procedure.

The military operations of the contending Powers external to the Principalities have an interest for us only in their results. After the termination of the Crimean campaign, when Russia was compelled to sue for peace, the Treaty of Paris was concluded, and it contained stipulations of vital consequence to Moldo-Wallachia.

These stipulations may be summarised as follows:—The neutralisation of the navigation of the Danube, which was placed under the control of a European Commission; the cession by Russia to Turkey (and thus to Moldavia) of a portion of Bessarabia at the embouchure of the Danube; and the re-organisation, on an entirely autonomic basis, but still under the suzerainty of the Porte, of the Danubian Principalities. In the year 1857, before the deliberations of the European Powers had given permanent effect to the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris, a movement was actively proceeding in both Principalities, the object of which was to effect their union under one governing head.

The exiles of 1848, who had fled to Paris, and there endeavoured by their published works to keep alive the spirit of independence in Roumania, now returned to their native country and renewed an active agitation at home. Amongst those who then and thereafter strove for the liberties of their country were John Bratiano, C.A. Rosetti, two members of the family of Ghika, Demetrius Stourdza, John Cantacuzene, and other laymen, and Golesco and others of the military profession. These so far attained their end that, after a great deal of idle intervention on the part of Turkey and the other European Powers, most of whom were intriguing for their own hands rather than for the welfare of the Principalities, they succeeded in obtaining from a conference of the Powers at Paris, in 1858, a kind of agreement, which, whilst it insisted upon the retention in each Principality of a separate prince or hospodar, gave to each an elective parliament, and admitted of a partial fusion, under a kind of central commission, for the 'united Principalities.' This was a species of compromise which was no doubt satisfactory to the guaranteeing Powers, with their conflicting interests, but was not at all to the taste of the young nation struggling for union and independence. By a clever and perfectly justifiable manœuvre the people of Moldavia and Wallachia proceeded to supplement the deliberations and decisions of the Powers, by each choosing the same ruler, Captain John Couza, and, in spite of protestations from the Porte, which refused to recognise this as a lawful proceeding, Couza, under the title of Alexander John I., mounted the united throne as Prince of Roumania. In 1861, chiefly in consequence of the recommendation of the guaranteeing Powers, the Porte assented to the union.


Prince Couza was born at Galatz in 1820. He was of an old boyard family, and was educated at Jassy, Athens, and Paris. In 1845 he married Helena, the daughter of another boyard, Rosetti, and subsequently held high offices in the State. His princess was a patriotic lady who founded and supported many charitable institutions, amongst others the orphan asylum known as the Asyle Hélène, of which we have already spoken; and had her husband recognised her virtues, and remembered his own obligations to her; he would probably have still sat upon the throne of Roumania. For there is no doubt that during the earlier part of his reign, which lasted from 1859 to 1866, he enjoyed the cordial support of all parties in the State; but he soon endeavoured to render himself absolute, and in 1864 he effected a coup d'état, very similar to the one which has recently been perpetrated by the Prince of Bulgaria, in all probability under the same tutelage. In his case, however, the nation refused to submit to such an arbitrary proceeding, and although it succeeded for a time, that, coupled with his avarice, gross immorality, and general misgovernment, led to his ultimate downfall. In 1864 the monasteries were secularised, that is to say, they were claimed as State property, a proceeding which was sanctioned by the guaranteeing Powers against payment of an indemnity. In 1865 a complete reform took place in the relations between the landed proprietors and the peasantry, who were freed from feudal obligations and became part owners of the soil. Of this reform we have already spoken at length. As we have said, however, the personal actions of the Prince, who enriched himself at the expense of a still suffering country, sought by every means in his power to obtain absolute rule, and led an openly immoral life, against which his advisers protested and warned him in vain, led to what some have called a conspiracy, but which was an uprising of all the leading representatives of the people, lay and military, who united to drive him from the throne.

The so-called abdication, but really the deposition, of Prince Couza, as it was narrated at the time, was effected as follows. The conspiracy being ripe, on February 11 [23], 1866, a sufficiently strong body of military, acting under the orders of General Golesco and others, surrounded the palace in which the Prince was lodged, and a number of officers then forced their way inside. On entering the palace they proceeded to the room of the Prince, arresting on their way thither M. L—— and two officers of the body-guard. Before they forced the door the Prince, it seems, had a presentiment of some danger, and cried from within, 'Don't enter, for I shall fire.' Before the sentence was finished, however, the door was burst open, and he saw before him the conspirators with revolvers in their hands. He was cowardly enough (says the narrative) not to fire once. It is possible that if he had known that they had an order not to fire, whatever might happen, he would have killed one or other of them. Or, perhaps, the presence of Madame —— prevented him from offering resistance, for she was there undressed.

'What do you want?' he asked, trembling.

'We have brought your Highness's abdication,' said Captain C——. 'Will you sign it?'

'I have neither pen nor ink,' he answered.

'We thought of that,' said one of the conspirators.

'I have no table.'

'For this once, I offer myself as such,' said Captain P——.

Having no alternative, the Prince then signed the following act of abdication, as it lay on the shoulders of the stooping officer who had condescended to serve as a desk for the occasion.

'We, Alexander, according to the will of the whole nation, and the oath we took on ascending the throne, this day, February 11 , 1866, lay down the reins of government and relegate the same to a princely locum-tenens and to the ministry chosen by the people.

(Signed) 'Alexander John.'

'This has been my wish for a long time,' said the Prince after having signed; 'but circumstances not dependent upon myself have caused me to postpone. Spite of all this, I was willing to do it in May.'

After he had signed the act of abdication the conspirators made him dress, and led him to a carriage where Ch——, in the dress of a coachman, received him and drove him to the house of M. Ciocarlanu. Madame ——, on the other hand, was taken home to her own house after she had habited herself. Immediately after Couza's arrest the bells rang out a merry peal, a band of music struck up before the theatre, and masses of people collected before the palace where the Provisional Government had installed itself, and shortly afterwards issued the following proclamation:—


During seven years you have shown Europe what can be effected by patriotism and civic virtue. Unhappily you were mistaken in your selection of the prince whom you called to lead the nation. Anarchy and corruption, violation of the laws, squandering of the national finances, degradation of the country at home and abroad, these have characterised the conduct of this culpable Government. Roumanians, the princely locum-tenens will maintain the constitutional government in its integrity. It will uphold public order, and remove personal ambition from the altar of the Fatherland.

'Roumanians, by the election of a foreigner as Prince of Roumania, the votes of the Divan will become an accomplished fact.'

Let us add a few words concerning this proceeding. We have heard blame attributed to the revolutionists, who, as already stated, comprised the leading statesmen of the country, for using force in order to ensure Couza's abdication, and so far as the mere legality of the document is concerned, his signature, thus obtained, was of course valueless. But in order to be able to form a correct opinion on the crisis and the acts of the revolutionists, it would be necessary to understand not only the character of the prince (which would alone have justified extreme measures, if one half be true that has been written concerning him), but also to estimate the effect of any delay that might have arisen from a more pacific and deliberate course of action. The popular leaders had not forgotten the lessons of 1848, and it was not likely they would be so insensate as to give time for Russian or Turkish intrigues once more to break down the barriers of their hardly-won liberties. That the nation was satisfied is proved by the sequel. No one troubled himself about Couza, who was allowed to withdraw from Roumania laden with the spoils of his reign; and when afterwards the name of the present ruler was placed before the people it was accepted with joy and acclamation.

But we have had another reason for dwelling at greater length than has been customary with historians upon this incident in Roumanian annals. It was to show the kind of example in morality, or rather immorality and faithlessness, which was set by one of the princes of the country so recently as fifteen or sixteen years since. Such conduct may be treated with contempt in countries having a well-established and settled constitution, but in a new-born nationality it could not fail to work great mischief, which has not yet been fully remedied despite the example of an unblemished Court.